Lab: “We’re not giving up on Second Life”

Update: Just as a further reminder, what Ebbe Altberg had to say about the new platform can be heard here, with bullet points on his statements.

As per my article Ebbe confirms: “we’re working on a ‘next generation’ platform” (with audio), Linden Lab are working on a “next generation” virtual world – news of which should be appearing in the media soon, quite likely as a part of the Lab’s PR work around Second Life’s 11th anniversary.

The confirmation that the Lab are working on the platform – and may well have been for around the last two years (see: Rod Humble hints at more virtual worlds in LL’s future, October 2012) – have fuelled rumours and speculation about the future of Second Life (remembering that any new platform is still some way into the future).  As a result Peter Gray, the Lab’s Director of Global communications contacted me with a copy of an official reply the Lab is circulating in response to enquiries on the matter, and has given me permission to reprint it here:

Hi Inara,

Just saw your post – thanks for taking care to get what Ebbe actually said. Below is the comment I’ve just sent along to a couple of folks who asked for clarification, which mostly reiterates what it sounds like you already know. Still, I just wanted to send it along in case it were useful.

Best,

Peter

more/…

Linden Lab is working on a next generation virtual world that will be in the spirit of Second Life, an open world where users have incredible power to create anything they can imagine and content creators are king. This is a significant focus for Linden Lab, and we are actively hiring to help with this ambitious effort. We believe that there is a massive opportunity ahead to carry on the spirit of Second Life while leveraging the significant technological advancements that have occurred since its creation, as well as our unparalleled experience as the provider of the most successful user-created virtual world ever.

The next generation virtual world will go far beyond what is possible with Second Life, and we don’t want to constrain our development by setting backward compatibility with Second Life as an absolute requirement from the start. That doesn’t mean you necessarily won’t be able to bring parts of your Second Life over, just that our priority in building the next generation platform is to create an incredible experience and enable stunningly high-quality creativity, rather than ensuring that everything could work seamlessly with everything created over Second Life’s 11 year history.

Does this mean we’re giving up on Second Life? Absolutely not. It is thanks to the Second Life community that our virtual world today is without question the best there is, and after 11 years we certainly have no intention of abandoning our users nor the virtual world they continually fill with their astounding creativity. Second Life has many years ahead of it, and in addition to improvements and new developments specifically for Second Life, we think that much of the work we do for the next generation project will also be beneficial for Second Life.

It’s still very early days for this new project, and as we forge ahead in creating the next generation virtual world, we’ll share as much as we can.

If we had one message to share with Second Life users about this new project at this point, it would be: don’t panic, get excited! Again, Second Life isn’t going away, nor are we ceasing our work to improve it. But, we’re also working on something that we think will truly fulfill the promise of virtual worlds that few people understand as well as Second Life users.

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87 thoughts on “Lab: “We’re not giving up on Second Life”

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  3. Kara

    Ummm … he sounds like he is doing a bit of a contradiction there in saying second life is not going away and that we should be excited. If all of my content is in SL why should I be at all happy about the fact that they are putting most of their energy into another product? I am not going to go somewhere and rebuild my inventory, if I do that it would be to OS where friends have moved to over the years and at least I can export/import my own creations.

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  4. ibigfire

    Personally? I am absolutely stoked about this. Second Life isn’t going away, but there are limits in keeping everything backwards compatible, and I’m happy to hear they recognize that. If you want new stuff, you sometimes gotta lose some of your old stuff. And you totally have that option to not move over into the new world! If people don’t move over, then clearly keeping the old was more important to them, and that’s cool. But SL, as it is, is an old and decrepit system that needs to be reworked from the ground up if it’s going to impress absolutely anybody new nowadays. Just fly around the grid and look how empty it is. It’s depressing, as it is.

    What can be kept, will be kept, but people who want to maintain ALL of their old things simply have to accept that they can’t also have the new world with it. They’re doing, potentially, the right thing. It still remains to be seen depending on what choices they make for the new world, of course, but I am (slightly hesitantly) very hopeful.

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  5. lokieliot

    I’ve been moaning at Drax about how the Lab seem to have nothing new to contribute to the born again VR hype. Watching High Fidelity somewhat openly tease about exciting ideas in future avatar interaction, and collective computing power, while Linden Lab don’t seem to be thinking about anything. So this news is kinda great if a bit vapourware sounding. If it does turn out to exist, then I won’t care if it eventually replaces second life. If it’s good and allows for even more exploration of virtual space then I won’t mind leaving my shoddy old inventory behind to start building up a new one.

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Second Life “nothing new”: got two words for you with potential: “Experience Tools” – more on this shortly :).

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      1. lokieliot

        i.. i… just can’t.. i can’t hope for anything anymore, I’m just too tired….. believe it when i see any of it.

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  7. Kara

    I am wondering how much people who think this is great have invested in SL? I mean money? I have over 8 years of buying inventory. Some of it that has huge sentimental value I would not be able to replace.

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    1. Becky

      I have invested a considerable amount of money and time into Second Life, 7 years inworld, operating a full region built to the hilt, and probably another region’s worth in inventory. I have a business online that fuels my passions. The way I look at it, however, is the same way I look at the first Mac Powerbook I bought in 2002. It cost me a huge amount of money (considerably more in relative terms than I might spend today on a much more powerful machine, especially considering my income at the time – which was basically nil). I had huge sentimental value attached to it – it was my constant companion for years. But, despite making the investment in that wonderful machine, I’m not going to simply keep using it 12 years on because (a) I invested in it or (b) it has sentimental value. The same could be said for homes, cars, hell, the same could be said for relationships! Sometimes, the only rational approach is to burn your ships and move on to bigger and better things.

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        1. Becky

          Yes, sentimentality is a large part of what keeps *some* people connected with SL. And, it’s also what keeps people rooted to the places they live, the habits they occupy themselves with, the things they have, the jobs they work, and the circles they associate with… etc. etc… And while Iv’e felt sentimental about some of the same things in a virtual world, I’m able to recognise those feelings, and let them go if they are getting in the way of better opportunities.

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      1. Inara Pey Post author

        Well said.

        Also consider the fact that many of us are attracted to Big Shiny. We have yet to see precisely what the new platform is or looks like. What if it nails all the gripes people currently have with SL, for example:

        • Much better avatars with more capabilities for use / customisation
        • built-in content creation capabilities which are far more intuitive and which allow “modern” techniques to be harnessed within them and which encompass far more capable scripting tools, etc.
        • High fidelity graphics
        • Truly native support for emerging hardware technologies – VR, AR & other devices, should people wish to use them
        • Portability and mobility
        • A revenue model which is removed from the land / tier lock-in and offers more options and opportunities, and lower overall cost to the individual wishing to create content and experiences, while still allowing the company to generate solid revenue
        • A more fluid / customisable UI / client
        • The ability for users to build their own gateways which lead new users directly into the platform to their experiences and those like that, rather than having LL continue to act as the primary gatekeeper for new user engagement

        The list could go on, but were these things to appear, they might just outweigh (or at least help to counter) any feelings of loss or discontinuity in migrating away from SL as we know it now.

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        1. Gwyneth Llewelyn

          Well. Are you still talking about the same Linden Lab that we know? The Linden Lab who lost many of their core developers to High Fidelity and Facebook (who is developing their own VW platform — also probably to be deployed at the same time as SL2?)?

          My point is actually quite simple. Every ‘new and shiny’ platform launched after SL had all that. None survived. Many had even longer lists of shiny new features :) A few went open source or targeted tiny niche markets and are still around, but they certainly didn’t get everybody in SL jumping into their virtual world. In fact, every time another one of those shiny, new VWs fails, those early adopters even come back to SL (‘hey, cool, now they even have got meshes’), but most are lost forever.

          So, sure, for a while you’ll get thousand of people experimenting with SL2. Like you will have thousands experimenting with High Fidelity. And possibly hundreds of thousands in Facebook VW. This will encourage LL to develop SL2 further and further, pulling more and more resources from SL. In spite of Peter’s ‘do not panic’ message, the truth is that it’s precisely the same as what happened under Rod when LL started ‘diversifying’ — they said the same thing, that they would expand to other areas of business, but never leave their ‘cash cow’ SL behind. They stuck to their promise — and their ‘other areas’ all failed, one by one.

          It’s nice of them to accept that the only good thing they know how to do is virtual worlds, and attempting to do another one from scratch is certainly brave… but at some point in the future, they will have to make a choice: support a dwindling SL (which will even lose more people, specially when SL2 starts to make an appearance) and put all resources into SL2… and go bust, losing both? Or give up on SL2 completely in, say, 3 years, recognize they made a huge mistake… but go back to a much further reduced and weakened SL?

          At the same time that Facebook is stampeding the VW market with their own product… which might be awful… but it will have the Facebook brand behind?

          I don’t know. I seriously cannot be ‘excited’, unless they do something very, very simple: announce that SL2 will be fully backwards-compatible with SL for 90% of all meshed content built according to some soon-to-be-announced specs, and profiles & inventory will be carried over. Then they’ll get all content creators developing for those specs. 18 months is enough for people to replace their most important things.

          Also, TPVs can soooo easily convert prims to meshes these days. It’s just point-and-click. So, if LL just absorbs that piece of code, they could get people to convert their content to meshes, and make them future-proof. 18 months is not enough to convert all content, but if a substantial amount will be converted, then people will surely go to something better.

          But the way they have excluded all that from the very beginning (I’ve learned to understand the thousand different ways of saying ‘no’ without the need of typing the letters N-O) means that everybody in late 2015 will have to make a choice: move to SL2, HF, or Facebook VW and start everything from scratch; or stick to old, failing, broken, and un-maintained SL for a little while longer, until eventually LL shuts it down because they cannot afford to support it any longer… while not earning enough money from SL2 to survive. And what will happen then?

          Based on LL’s track record, I cannot believe that this is even open to discussion. Once they ‘believe’ that they can do something, they go ‘fundamental’ on it — to the point of rupture, even in face of glaring evidence.

          Even Apple, when dumping the PowerPC chips, was clever enough to allow old PowerPC-based apps to run as Universal Binaries for quite a while longer — until everybody in the world had an Intel-based CPU, and they could finally drop Rosetta. I think that Ebbe should have a chat with some Apple guys, just to exchange a few ideas on how to migrate old technology to ‘new and shiny’ while still retaining their customers. Apple, of course, is not the only company in the world having successfully done that. But on the other side of the coin we still have Microsoft struggling with die-hard Windows XP users… because they have a ten-year-old technology which is still reliable enough to do the job, and there is no alternative for XP users but to stick to Microsoft.

          In the VW world of 2015, SL2 will have two competitors (at least), so people will have a choice. If the choice is to go to whatever is ‘newer and shinier’, how is LL so sure that people will pick their choice? By contrast, SL has no competitors — nobody can, in 18 months, replicate the sheer amount of existing content in SL. And while Facebook might be able to replicate the amount of users, these users will still want content. Who does really want to be in a VW with 20 or 30 million users and just a handful of meshes quickly uploaded from the Warehouse?

          So let’s see LL tackle the migration issue seriously, and then I’ll be a happy girl.

          Granted, they could hire Damien Fate and the rest of the coldLogic crowd and pay them to convert all their content to SL2 in 18 months… :) and then I’d be out of arguments :)

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          1. Inara Pey Post author

            I’m not sure I’d classify things in terms of the Lab losing “most” of their core developers to FB and HF. “Some” certainly. But equally, they’re brought-in talent as well, and that talent has shown it is more than capable of getting to grips with the simulator & back-end code and managing and enhancing it.

            Listening to Brendan Iribe’s comments on the Facebook VW / MMO (he uses the latter term far more than the former, but appears to mean the former). I’m not convinced they’re looking to have something out in the next 18-24 months. Given Facebook’s focus is on a deep, Oculus-style immersiveness, Iribe couches their aspirations in the 10-20 years time frame, which is perhaps overly-cautious in terms of the technology reaching the “glasses” phase he refers to. But it still suggests that FB could be 3-5 years away from having an initial “something” out there that people are going to want to play with. Right now, the idea that every Facebook user in the world will want to strap a $200-$300 plastic brick to their head (once actually available to consumers) just because it is “immersive” is far from a given. But … give them something that’s more ergonomic, that’s a lower price, and which they’ve seen has relevance to them in other areas of their lives, and you stand more of a chance of persuading them into your new virtual realm…

            “So, sure, for a while you’ll get thousand of people experimenting with SL2. Like you will have thousands experimenting with High Fidelity.”

            Who, in all probability, will largely be the same thousand people – people drawn from OpenSim and Second Life. Which is why the Lab needs to make sure it hits the ground running with the new platform; they need to demonstrate to us that the new platform is something we want to get our teeth into, and whatever elements of inventory investment we lose (fiscal or financial) be damned.

            “This will encourage LL to develop SL2 further and further, pulling more and more resources from SL. ”

            Or, it will encourage them to hire-in talent specifically to work on the new platform, just as they planning to right now, without placing any additional strain on the resources working on SL.

            And herein lies another point. People seem to be mis-reading the statement that the team working on SL under Oz will be smaller than the team which has been previously working on SL to mean the SL team will be “small”. The two do not equate at all. Sure, the SL team might be only 10% of the size it once was – and it could just as easily be reduced by 10%, leaving the majority intact. The truth doubtless lies somewhere between these two extremes. However, given the Lab is engaged in hiring-in new talent, it’s possible they’ve siphoned-off just the skills they need in order to get the new platform team(s) up-and-running and managed, rather than a wholesale plundering of every scrap of talent from the SL pool.

            The flip side to this, as well, is that the talent which has moved over to the new platform hasn’t actually left the company and taken its innate knowledge elsewhere. It is still there. It can still likely be called upon for advice, assistance and support, should it be needed.

            “the truth is that it’s precisely the same as what happened under Rod when LL started ‘diversifying’ — they said the same thing, that they would expand to other areas of business, but never leave their ‘cash cow’ SL behind. They stuck to their promise — and their ‘other areas’ all failed, one by one.”

            No, their “other” areas didn’t all fail. Two of their other products failed – dio and Creatorverse; but the odds were stacked against these from the start. Creatorverse was too much of a retro step back; dio was entirely in-defined and lacking purpose. Good that they were cancelled. But that’s par for the course when trying to diversify. It’s hard to get it right first time, or even second or third. So accept those produces for what they were low-cost developments which never really got past a beta phase.

            Versu is a different kettle of fish. It’s a fully viable product. It’s going forward right now. The reason it was cancelled by the Lab was that it didn’t fit their revised product portfolio and direction.

            Of the remaining two products, Blocksworld still appears to be continuing to enjoy acceptable returns on sales through the App Store. According to App Annie, it’s still running in the top 10 download for family entertainment and for education in the USA and the UK, is within the top 150-200 for games downloads in both countries and was ranked inside the top 300 downloads overall for both countries. That’s actually not bad going. Stats are variable in other countries, admittedly, but there are many where it is also up inside the top 500 across categories and up in the top 10 or top 50 for specific categories. As to the last product, Patterns, we just don’t know the potential. It hasn’t been formally released, so the waters have yet to be tested on that. It did gain a lot of traction early-on in the Genesis programme, much of which appeared to come from the gaming community than from the SL user base. It has a strong core community developing worlds for the Cosmos, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens when it does eventually launch.

            “Based on LL’s track record, I cannot believe that this is even open to discussion. Once they ‘believe’ that they can do something, they go ‘fundamental’ on it — to the point of rupture, even in face of glaring evidence.”

            Yup. In the past, they have been. But the last two CEOs haven’t been that open to the idea of engagement anyway; one (Mark Kingdon) because he was apparently brought in to drive the company in a specific direction at the behest of the board; the other (Rod Humble) because he felt he had a better direction in which to take the company and didn’t place communications and interaction with users high on the list of priorities. So far, a lot of what Ebbe Altberg has done has been to reverse quite a lot of this. However, the proof of the pudding really will be the closed beta, while advanced indications will come when / if the Lab start cohesively communicating on the matter.

            “So let’s see LL tackle the migration issue seriously, and then I’ll be a happy girl.”

            Yup, I agree. There is just too much supposition, speculation and assumption which is starting to solidify as “fact”, and that’s not really a good thing. We need to see more substance here sooner rather than later. I get the impression people will find more is transferrable than they currently believe (with some notably caveats around things related to the avatar, such as system layers, etc). But greater clarification is needed, preferably sooner rather than later. I’m also pretty sure the Lab realise this as well; the comments across blogs and forums are clear enough in that regard.

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      2. caoimhelionheart

        I agree with Becky. It probably comes down to a persons being possessed by possessions, it’s just based on our personalities. As Becky knows, I blog. A lot. Sometimes twice daily. Recently a friend of mine said she logged in and 115,000 items of her inventory were missing. Concerned I logged in and I had 49,000 or so items in inventory. I actually didn’t know if that’s what I have or if any was missing. I receive or most likely buy a ton of stuff each week for my blog. When I was speaking to my friend about it she said how traumatic it was to her, I thought about it and told her, to me, since I am not “missing” anything, I suppose it wouldn’t matter if SL ate my inventory. It’s just the mechanics of our different personalities. Perhaps she is conscientious and I am wasteful, perhaps she takes pride in possessions, and I do not. It could either way. But I would gladly walk away empty handed to a better platform, without a second thought or a single grumble. I’d show up in a potato sack, start from scratch and continue on. Dam I’d miss my 6000 different hairs and 35000 pairs of shoos tho…

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  9. billeh

    Another thought – after hearing about this non-compatible update coming, how many consumers like me just stop investing money in our SL in anticipation of the new world?

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      The Lab hasn’t stated the new platform will be incompatible with Second life. What they have stated is that they are not being constrained by trying to make the new platform necessarily compatible with SL. That’s not entirely the same thing.

      Obviously, there will be much that likely won’t carry forward (anything to do with the current avatar in terms of shape, system layers, etc., would seem a good example here, which will impact people’s thinking, that’s true enough).

      However, there may equally be content in SL which will get to be carried forward in some manner. Mesh would likely be an example here, and even prim exports to .DAE (albeit possibly requireing tweaking in an external package) is perhaps another. In this respect there seems to be an expectation in the Lab that if they don’t provide an export / import tool, they anticipate others will.

      Right now, it is too early to tell what will happen. While the new platform appears to have been in in development for up to two years (or at least has been poked at during that time), it is only since Ebbe Altberg joined the company that direction and intent has started to be clarified, so it is still very early days to be determining what “will” and “won’t” happen vis the new platform & SL.

      Granted, the new that something is coming down the pipe (but which could still be up to 2 yers away from prime time use) may well impact on people’s spending habits; but that’s entirely understandable – and in this respect, at least we are getting fair warning so that as more news comes out, we can adjust our spending accordingly.

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        1. Inara Pey Post author

          “There is no way this news will not have a negative impact on peoples decisions and habits.”

          That’s not necessarily the case. It comes down to how people look upon their SL time. Many aren’t as invested as you (or even I – and I admit to being a lot less invested today than three years ago). They see SL as recreation, they budget their disposable income accordingly and so may well continue with current habits as they are now, with a full understanding that they may well be packing their virtual bags and moving on to territories new at some point.

          For my part, for example, I’ll continue as I do now. I’ll buy the content that appeals, I’ll pay tier on the land I have, I’ll continue to create as the mood takes me.

          Others with businesses may well opt to slow down on new products as time progresses and as more news on the new platform comes to light. That’s fair and reasonable – but they’ll also likely to continue to generate revenue in the meantime, because of all of those (as mentioned above) who have decided to continue onwards “as-is” until such time as they want to decide to go elsewhere.

          Those who develop in-world experiences could go either way. Right now, as you say, there is still around 18 months (basing things on SL’s history) before we even see an open beta. They may well continue with a steady-as-she goes attitude, leveraging those new features they see fit (such as Experience Tools), which actually allow people to continue to enjoy SL without any feeling of any metaphorical sword hanging by a thread just over their heads. Or they may well opt to stop further development and continue to simply refresh what they have at present until they can see what is coming down the pipe. But again, is that so negative? Their experiences and attractions will still be here, people will continue to use them. Will we notice any greater stagnation in SL? Doubtful, given many have already determined SL has been in a state of stagnation for the last five or so years …

          “SL might have many years left in it”

          Which is why your view strikes me as overly doom-ridden. Even if the economy does start to shrink once the new platform arrives and should it gain traction (the latter of which is not necessarily a given, as Ebbe himself indicated), there is potential enough there for creators and businesses to continue to develop products, generate revenue, etc., while also making solid plans as to when they should migrate elsewhere – and how.

          So whether the impact is negative or not will come down to howsoever people view the news, and how pragmatic they are prepared to be. As I said, for at least the next 12-18 months, I see no reason to adjust my habits, spending or otherwise, further. I suspect I’ll be far from alone in this.

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          1. caoimhelionheart

            definitely not the case with me either. Other than hairs and skin/shape/ears/hands/feet/eyes, I never wear the same things more than twice. So it would be quite easy for me to continue on buying until the mother ship comes to take me to a new frontier and when I get there I’d buy everything and keep on blogging in the hopes people will put away the fear and join me at my new “home”

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      1. Gwyneth Llewelyn

        Inara, I think you’re far too optimistic. If LL intended to have any way to transfer content from one platform to the other, it would be a feature on their list. So they have no such intentions. The only thing that might be implied with their comment is that anything created with mesh will be able to be imported to SL2. But of course only the mesh creators will do that.

        I believe that thinking otherwise is a bit naive. If you start out claiming that you need to develop a completely new platform that goes beyond the constraints of SL, then it’s not reasonable to assume that old content will be portable, just because LL doesn’t exclude that from happening. At some point, someone at the tech team will say, ‘we cannot have avatars with flexible fingers if we still stick to the old skin templates — it’s impossible’, and they will have to drop compatibility with old skins. The same will happen with each type of asset, except perhaps for textures and notecards, which might get converted. Meshed objects should be fine. Rigged meshes for clothes/avatars, since they’re so tightly bound to the SL avatar skeleton, will hardly work on a different platform.

        So, seriously, I think it’s pointless to continue to believe that there will be any kind of ‘content transfer’ between SL and SL2. There are no grounds to believe that. And even if LL admits that they might, after all, revert their decision and force themselves to work ‘within’ the constraints of SL to allow content to be portable… then I’d question the whole point of the announcement. That would just be a natural evolution of SL — towards a better renderer, better simulators — and not a departure from the past towards a different product. LL clearly wants a different product. And that means abandoning old content.

        Still, this mostly affects consumers, not content creators. Content creators already doing meshed content will just have a slightly extra effort to adapt their content to a new SL2 avatar skeleton or a new renderer. You can see how the same content creators offer their wares on Renderosity, SL, IMVU — the same articles, same objects, same clothes, just tailored slightly to work with different platforms. Philip Rosedale claims that any mesh can be uploaded to High Fidelity as well, so naturally mesh content creators will try that out as soon as they can. It’s highly likely Facebook VW will do the same. I’m pretty sure that the amount of work necessary to support SL2 will not be overwhelming for content creators (specially because it means having yet another market). This is why LL is encouraging content creators to get excited by SL2 — they will offer them yet another market to sell their wares. I agree; if I were a content creator, I would most certainly jumping up and down in excitement!

        As a consumer, however, I’m aware that I will have to lose all my content and start from scratch. It’s not merely a question of wasting thousands of dollars — I have certainly wasted money before! It’s mostly a question of starting from scratch. That’s the biggest reason why I don’t bother to visit non-HG OpenSim grids, no matter how ‘popular’ they are: it’s a pain to keep starting from scratch, over and over again.

        The only main advantage that SL2 will have over, say, HF, is that probably the list of friends and groups will be ported over easily. But Facebook VW will offer similar features as well. Between choosing to ‘start from scratch’ from those three platforms, I would probably favour LL, because they will respect my privacy, while Facebook will not. But having something ‘bright and shiny’ really just appeals to a few thousands, who will gladly discard everything and jump on anything new. We saw that happening with Lively, Blue Mars, Cloud Party. We will see it happen with High Fidelity and SL2 (Facebook VW is a different story). The question is that it is so hard to go from ‘a few thousands’ towards ‘a few millions’ — as every OpenSim grid operator knows very well (and they have an easy job, because it’s a familiar technology). This is what LL is not truly understanding: by creating a whole new product and abandoning consumers, and just focusing on content creators, they will never go beyond those ‘few thousands’ — because nobody else has ever been able to do that.

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        1. Inara Pey Post author

          I’m looking at things more from the focus of content creators, yes, and in that respect I think there has been a conflation of ideas in our discussion, as we’ll looking at things from slightly different viewpoints.

          In terms of personal inventory, as I’ve replied elsewhere, it does come down to how we view the money we’ve spent on it. For me, it’s always been part of my disposable income. I fully accept that many of the things I purchase in-world have a shelf-life. I even give many things a shelf-life myself. When clothing, shoes, hair, skins, furnishings, accessories, animations, etc, cease being used, they get boxed. If I’ve not unpacked them in 6-8 months, the boxes get rationalised & stuff gets trashed. So the expenditure aspect of my inventory doesn’t have that much of a hold on me. From comments other have made here and elsewhere, I’m not entirely alone in that (although more than likely in the minority).

          There is another aspect to inventory transfer which really hasn’t been discussed, and it has relevance whether LL provide a degree of export capabilities or someone else does. And that’s the matter of IP.

          You may well want to have you inventory transferrable elsewhere – but what if Creator X, from who you have bought a lot of items, doesn’t what any of their existing work, for whatever reason, to go anywhere other than SL?

          Turning to reasons for not going elsewhere, and again while not dismissing issues of inventory as inconsequential – I’m most certainly not doing that – I do wonder if the core reason why more from SL haven’t involved themselves in OpenSim (hypergrid or otherwise) is more because OpenSim really hasn’t offered the majority of people engaged in SL any truly compelling reasons to jump ship?

          Indeed, as I’ve (again!) said, who is to say that if the Lab’s new platform did manage to offer you, me and all the other like us in SL really compelling reasons to be a part of it, we might actually end up champing at the bit to be involved, current inventory losses notwithstanding?

          “This is what LL is not truly understanding: by creating a whole new product and abandoning consumers, and just focusing on content creators, they will never go beyond those ‘few thousands’ — because nobody else has ever been able to do that.”

          Actually, I think the issue is far more fundamental than that when it comes to broader or mainstream growth. But that’s a topic for a blog post.

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          1. Gwyneth Llewelyn

            We’ll see. I remain very skeptical. Your math about LL’s possible hiring teams from elsewhere to work on SL2 while giving SL all resources they can is nice, but… where will the money come from? Certainly not from LL’s dwindling revenue from SL — which will only diminish further and further as the launch date of SL2 comes near. Unless they’re going the way Philip is with High Fidelity (i.e. hire-on-demand, crowdsource bits of code, pay for selected tasks but not pay a full-time salary — and do all the above plus hiring developers full-time), but they stated they wouldn’t open source SL2, so… I don’t think that’s the case.

            As for my generalisation claim that ‘all diversification of LL failed’, well… Versu’s current status, from your own article, is dubious — meaning I couldn’t understand if the IP was sold back, or if LL remains the owner of Versu’s IP, and the product is going ahead as a Lab product or… what? As for the other products, sure, they’re being sold on game shops but — how much? We can only calculate the revenue that LL gets from land, and perhaps from L$ transactions. We know how much they’re losing every month. Are the two remaining products able to compensate for the loss of revenue — not the loss they have now, but the loss they will have when SL starts to contract faster than SL2 can get new revenue?

            Ultimately it’s all about the money. But SL2 will not exist in a vacuum. It will exist side-by-side with two new competitors. LL has no choice but to do a better sales pitch than merely saying ‘the new world will be bright and shiny and far better than SL’. We all know that. But that’s the same argument that High Fidelity and Facebook also have. What does SL2 — taking into account that it can leverage on SL — offer that those two competing products don’t offer?

            For a possible answer, visit my blog ;)

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            1. Mona Eberhardt

              Funds for the development of SL 2.0 don’t have to come exclusively from profits generated by SL 1.0, even though nothing prevents this. Remember, SL was extremely highly profitable in the overhype days, and remains quite profitable even today. So, I’d expect that some capital was raised for development of new products.

              Also, the Board itself consists of people who have the ability to invest into the company for expansion and for development of new products. Mitch Kapor, for instance, is not a wage slave scraping something resembling a living in one of Angela Merkel’s debt colonies in the European South. Instead, he’s quite wealthy and can reinvest in his investments.

              Regarding the misconception that SL 1.0 is open source, I will again remind here that only the client application for SL 1.0 is open source. The crucial bits (the server-side code) are strictly proprietary, and SL 1.0 depends on proprietary technologies (such as Vivox, Havok, and the JPEG2000 technology from Kakadu).

              As for the risk of SL 1.0 contracting faster than Blocksworld etc can compensate for the losses while SL 2.0, honestly this is something other people should be concerned with (and are paid for it).

              You’re right about SL 2.0 not existing in a vacuum. Problem is, most pundits out there are still under the impression that SL 1.0 and OpenSim exist(ed) in a vacuum and that people made their decisions regarding which platform to use (or even regarding abandoning virtual worlds entirely) based not on what the real-world economy dictates, but on first world problems like the ToS.

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              1. Gwyneth Llewelyn

                Indeed, @Mona — many forget that LL planned to shut down SL in… 2003. It simply wasn’t growing as fast as they predicted. Eventually things started to work out better, and by 2006/7 they were clearly profitable and have been so until today,

                LL as a company can afford to set cash aside for R&D and new product development, which is actually not so common these days. That’s how they managed to invest in SL Enterprise, during the M Linden days; that’s why they had plenty of money to diversify and invest on ‘games apps'; and certainly that’s how they managed to invest in the ongoing development of SL2. The problems are not technical. They’re purely commercial. They’re betting everything on SL2’s ability to compensate for the losses taken in SL, and do it very quickly. Because SL2 will almost certainly be much cheaper to run and maintain, if they can pull it off, at some point they can manage to shut down SL and just continue with SL2 with the same revenue from the same users — but at a fraction of the hardware/bandwidth costs. That’s their goal.

                The devil is in the details! For all that to happen, SL2 has to grow exponentially very fast, reach some 100,000 users in a few months, and remain stable afterwards. Their bet is that they can pull it off while everybody else tried and failed.

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                1. Mona Eberhardt

                  You’re basing your estimations on the assumption that the (only) audience for LL’s next-generation virtual world will be SL users and/or former SL users who can no longer afford to rent regions in SL. From what’s coming from the Lab, it seems to me that SL’s user base is only going to be a small part of that new platform’s audience – it seems that what they’re designing aims to be a lot more versatile than SL.

                  As for everybody else trying and failing, let me remind you of a few important points:

                  1. OpenSim is not attractive for content creators, because its market is nowhere as big as SL’s, because they can’t use stock content they use for their creations there (SL texture makers’ EULAs usually prohibit use in other grids, for instance), because they feel there are no ways for them to be protected from content theft, and also because compatibility with SL (their main market) is close, but no cigar.

                  2. OpenSim’s technology depends on the continued development of Second Life. Were SL to disappear, OpenSim would become yet another project of problematic development state (think Window Maker within a few months, unless someone with deep pockets stepped up to the plate and offered a team of professional developers (which is about as likely to exist as a flatulent rocking horse).

                  3. OpenSim is not attractive to people in general, not only because of their perception of it as a haven for users & peddlers of stolen content, but also because what they see there reminds them of mediocre SL builds from 2008.

                  4. Blue Mars, Cloud Party etc. Why did they fail? Maybe because they outright missed some features that made SL attractive to its users? Maybe because they – like OpenSim – were seen by many as “also ran” platforms?

                  5. You mentioned competition in a recent post of yours. Exactly what competition? Blue Mars? It’s about as alive as Marion Parker (the girl that was brutally murdered by Ayn Rand’s idol). Cloud Party? Ditto. InWorldz, Kitely, AviNation? They’re small players, and I know for a fact that institutions feel safer with large corporations than with small outfits, no matter how capable the small players may be. Facebook? Although it’s the most popular and important social network at this time, who’s to say it’ll remain like this forever, especially with the creepy psychological experiments to which it subjects its users (and I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg) and its hypocritical, duplicitous attitude on avatar identity and its application of its “real names only” policy? High Fidelity? Right now, it’s as attractive (visually) as an Amiga 500 demo from 1989. And furthermore, if I were to join a virtual world in the future, I’d rather join one designed by LL (despite its failings) than even thinking of joining one designed by Facebook. And here’s something else I need to point out: avatar identity is important even to MMO gamers. In my Ikariam and Grepolis days, we used our nicknames to talk to each other, even while coordinating battles over Skype, and we greatly appreciated the feeling of privacy afforded by Gameforge’s and InnoGames’ ToS.

                  6. Returning to the audience thing I mentioned before… Who’s telling you that LL is only targeting its existing user base?

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    2. Trinity Dejavu

      It’s not just money, it’s the time investment that stands to suffer the most. Should I build a new sim, should I develop and refine a new innovative product and so on.

      SL might have many years left in it, but there is now a sword of damocles hanging over every user, it’s not if it will fall for you, but when.

      A beta next year, that’s a 6 to 18 month window of uncertainty that can only have a destabilising effect.

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      1. Kara

        Yes, what Victor and I were talking about on SLU was not a hypothetical. The Doctor Who regions marked the end of the sci-fi festival by destroying several sims. Everything on the ground level in them is being completely rebuilt with new designs right now. I highly doubt anyone is going to want to take that task on again in just a few years.

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  10. Ezra

    Much much prefer Linden Lab’s plan of “I want to lure you to a newer, better platform” versus what’s seemed before now to be no plan at all. I figured everyone at LL was just watching Tyche’s weekly reports with morbid curiosity of how long there would be a Linden Lab.

    Second Life has had way too much technical debt to improve much further for a long time now. This is due, and if Second Life ever sunsets because of a Second Life 2, great, exactly how else would anyone prefer it to end? To not end isn’t an option, all things conclude, so I can’t imagine a better plan to ensure as much of what Second Life is today survives for another 10 years. We might lose our assets but there’s no reason we have to lose the friends, communities, blogs, store brands, events, sim ideas, and so on. Heck, I lose interest in most my inventory every few months anyway due to constant shopping. .

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Interestingly, one of the things that Ebbe indicated the Lab are mulling over (while not being constrained by thoughts of trying to make “SL: The Next Generation” compatible with “SL The Original Platform” (with apologies to Star Trek) is how things like groups, etc., might be carried forward.

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      1. Gwyneth Llewelyn

        Avatar names, friend lists, profiles, groups, etc. will be easily carried forward. There will not be a problem with that. Even textures, sounds and notecards might have no problem either.

        The problem is mostly content. Maybe meshes (not for clothes) will be able to be ported, at least partially. And since the TPV crowd has created a simple prim-to-mesh converter, all LL has to do is to use that code to convert most prims to meshes, and allow them to be imported as well. (Yes, this allows sculpties to be ported as well, rather nicely, to be honest.) The resulting meshes are not awesome in terms of triangle counts, but they are quite accurate replicas of primmed/sculptied content. I did many, many tests and the results are far better than I could imagine — the only problem are permissions (you need to be both owner and creator of everything, including textures — having full perms is not enough). But that is something that LL can fix internally.

        Avatar clothes, accessories, apparel, etc. will obviously be impossible to port, if you get a new avatar skeleton (and a new UV map — so not even old clothes will work). Content creators will have no problem: having their original Maya/3DS/Blender files, all they need to do is to import new meshes for their content, tweaked to the new parameters of SL2, like they already do for many other platforms. So they would have no problem there. It’s just consumers that will be out of the loop here.

        And of course nothing scripted will work ever again; nor will animations.

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        1. Mona Eberhardt

          “And of course nothing scripted will work ever again; nor will animations.”
          Regarding animations, how do you know that? Even LL themselves don’t know (yet) the extent to which animations will be compatible (or not) with the new platform.

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  11. melponeme_k

    @Ezra

    That is exactly the way I feel. I will be willing to lose my junk for a better, more stable platform. And it would still be SL because we are SL, what SL is is us and if we are all together…how different could it be?

    I’m extremely excited about this news. Because Linden Lab is the prime mover and shaker of the VR world. The only company with a successful VR and I was angry that it was allowing the talking heads to downplay its power. If they can get this up and running by the end of the year or early next year… then they will control the market. Why is that good? Because the newer world will, hopefully, be based on what we created SL to be. And that should carry over to the new platform.

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  12. zzpearlbottom

    And to answer the question, how can Second life survive?
    It is already, in all the open sim based grids.
    From kitely to Inworldz (even if we can’t say that is is a Open sim grid anymore) passing for the hundreds Hyper connected grids.

    Think again and ask yourself, is it worth to trust a single more second on bringing innovation to Second Life, be on content creations or building regions, when the Tos keeps the same (Who will stop Linden Lab to export all that exists already to that new platform,. offer or sell it there as the rightful owners) or is worth to try and start where we can keep not only backups or all we build but also ensure if we want, that we can sell it not on a single grid but several?
    Open sim just need more content and users as several grids already proved that they are trustable behind any that Linden lab will ever be.
    I wonder in fact how many landlords or big investors will risk to be partners of a enterprise where Linden lab name is mentioned?

    Now for those who doubt, just read Inara post about her kitely region.

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    1. Gwyneth Llewelyn

      Just remember that once SL shuts down, TPV developers have no incentive to go on. And you need a viewer for OpenSimulator. For a long time, old viewers will continue to be used, but, in the long term, either the OpenSimulator core team develops (and maintains) their own viewer, or OpenSimulator will be doomed, just like SL…

      OpenSimulator will just take longer to disappear than SL, because it’s not tied to a single vendor/group/organisation.

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  13. Pingback: June 20 2014 TPV meeting: Ebbe mentions Lab is working on next-gen virtual world (complete video) | Mona Eberhardt

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  16. DJ Frenzy

    All these points made above me are extremely helpful in viewing this topic as clearly as I can. I am a relative new SL user.. in the year and a half I been there I made friends and family I adore. I enjoy a virtual career and spend real money to be part of something that gives me great pleasure. We are already talking about migration. That being said, it is without a doubt a visual experience we are talking about. I, like many others, run in games that, while on one hand are static environments, have rich and nearly life like components graphically. If the Lab is making in-roads to creating a graphics engine that is high density and still delivers the control we have in SL, then yay!
    But, if there is going to be a new SL that scrubs out the adult content ( yes sex, people ) so that the ‘kids’ come and play, or perhaps only builders who can pay-to-play, then it will be just a place where pretty non-moddable mesh avatars wander around IMing each other. The main reason SL works on so many levels is that it is seemingly limitless in creativity, community and the ability to trade virtual objects to each other, among many other things. I am both excited and also skeptical as to the re-worked virtual world in-bound..fingers crossed they don’t lose sight of what makes SL unique!

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  17. Tom Wyoming

    My first thought is to jump over to OS Grid, or anyplace that you can run your own servers. However SL typically has 32,000 users in world at any given time, while OS Grid is lucky to have 100. I don’t fret as much about losing my inventory as losing my SL friends who for whatever reason can’t make the transition to SL2 for whatever reason if the original SL goes away. I would certainly hope that SL2 has the functional equivalent of RLV and other adult content.

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  19. Pingback: Second Life Can Still Thrive With The Birth Of Linden Lab’s New World » Ciaran Laval

  20. Dystopian Lunasea

    When they made the adult community migrate to “same but better” Zindra continent, we lost half our users. When they bait-and-switched with the Homestead sims, we lost a pile of users. When they introduced mesh we lost many content creators. When they said “machinima will rule,” the next version broke the machinima tools. When they said “real estate is key” they started Linden houses and drove landlords out of business. The short of it is that when they announce “we’re changing anything” a whole pile of people quit.

    This early announcement is just another example of LL shooting own foot full of holes because like it or not, Inara, people will quit over this. Uncertainty is not good; 99% of previous Linden announcements have cost us users, there’s no reason to assume this one won’t as well. And for all the “new shiny new new shiny shiny”, Cloud Party failed, Blue Mars failed, and SL still goes on. Shiny, new shiny doesn’t always work. The Lab got lucky once in one product; which they’ve been trying to kill ever since. They assume their one time success will move over to other new products. So far, it has not. This announcement clearly states that it is only a matter of time until SL dies. We are not being told if we can have same names in new platform, only that our inventories, and our creations (for those of us supposedly “king” content creators) will be garbage.

    It’s hard not to be depressed about all this, and mindless cheer leading “shiny shiny new new get out of the old and into the new” isn’t helping anything. It’s like when mesh came out and people who didn’t know their buem from a vertice were all over the SL creators “why isn’t that mesh?” and “you’re a Luddite” for not instantly switching 100% to mesh.

    The new CEO doesn’t even know what the word “to rezz” means and he said last week in a meeting he hopes that no one will every have to “rezz” anything ever again. The implication was that anyone wasting their time rezzing prims was wasting their time. And this to a roomful of people who teach others how to rezz prims. Out-of-touch much?

    I am really saddened that once again, the Lab doesn’t listen to what the users asked for, and instead decides to go in some new direction. Other examples of this are pathfinding which occupied their time for months and which few sims do anything with, all the other games no one ever played like “Versi”, the Zindra disaster, the refusal to implement second names after M’s crew removed them, and many other “features” added to SL since the old days when it was fun. Meanwhile, group chats are still borked, only 1/4 a group gets a notice, alpha textures still have issues, and so many unfixed things from the old days that the list could fill an entire column.

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      No-one is cheerleading anything.

      Things are being stated with a certainty WRT to new platform which are, in reality subjective. That is, they will affect some, but not others. While some opt to look at the glass again being half empty, some are saying, “Yup, just like it’s always been.”

      Funny thing is, there have been dire predictions that the (Linden) sky is falling at almost everything the Lab has announced / done. Yet here we are, 11 years on. Uoi, me, and everyone else. We survived the OpenSpace / Homestead debacle. We got over Zindra.

      My point is, we actually don’t know what is coming down the pipe. It might well be the greatest thing since … well, Second Life. Something that makes us all want to leap aboard and bid SL a sad farewell, investment (of any kind) notwithstanding, and simply bask in the new.

      Equally, it could suck so badly it could draw the yoke out of an egg without even needing a hole in the shell. In which case, we still have Second Life, which the Lab has continued to develop (they have to, it’s their revenue stream), and can extend a single digit vertically in the general direction of the new platform and stay where we are.

      In the meantime, there are areas of doubt and uncetainty, but they don’t have a blanket application to everyone, as has been asserted. As I said, it’s subjective. And there are a lot of people who are welcoming the new with open arms out there. Perhaps too open, for the same reasons as I’ve mentioned.

      And… the CEO didn’t indicate he doesn’t understand what “to rezz” means. He actually said, “[12:57] Ebbe Linden: I have not made more than a box or two yet…”

      Also, in reference to Versu – it was one of the first things Ebbe trimmed from the Linden tree, along with Creatorverse and dio (although I’m happy to say Versu lives on as an independent entity, as it is something that personally interests me).

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      1. Dystopian Lunasea

        We weren’t at the same meeting. It is possible that he created an object or two after the meeting where he said he had not. I don’t wish to call him a liar, and I know he said he hadn’t made anything, and certainly did not know “to rezz” because it cause a huge buzz in his audience who were all SL teachers.

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        1. Mona Eberhardt

          This doesn’t mean much to me. I know quite a few people who have been in SL for years, are in-world daily or almost daily, and yet have never built anything – not even a simple box.

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      2. Gwyneth Llewelyn

        If LL announced tomorrow, ‘there will be no more prims in SL’, this would be a major change. People would leave. But SL would survive.

        If they announced, ‘prices will change’, this would be a major announcement. People would leave. But SL would still survive.

        When they announce ToS changes, people leave. But SL survives.

        And so forth. At each announcement, people leave, SL survives.

        But if they announce, ‘We’ll close down SL sooner or later’, I can’t possibly understand how you can think that SL will survive! So LL is gambling that everybody will switch first to SL2. But that is a huge gamble. As posted before, not even Apple did that when they kicked PowerPC chips out of their hardware and forced everybody to recompile their software to support Intel chips instead. There was a migration plan. It took half a decade. But Apple had stated their intentions clearly, and provided a long period of adaptation (and they had the same experience when pushing people from OS 9 into OS X — supporting both for years and years, until no more OS 9 users were left).

        Now, I’m not saying that Apple is doing everything right, and LL is doing everything wrong. I’m just saying that LL is gambling. Right now, they will release SL2. Then they will see what happens. If everybody migrates to SL2, fine, they can shut SL down. If only the few thousands eager to see anything shiny and bright migrate, then they have a problem. In the mean time, millions leave SL — as they have left before. The question will be: at the point in time where SL does not enough revenue to support LL, and SL2 is at the ‘Lively/Mars/Cloud Party’ stage — thousands of eager new adopters, but not enough revenue — what will LL do then?

        This is not the case of saying ‘we change something in SL, people leave, but SL will survive’. This is actually saying ‘SL will be shut down; will LL survive?’ Ebbe is staking his reputation in answering that question with ‘yes’. I’m far more pessimistic, because no single company in the past ten years has managed to do that; why should LL be ‘better’ than everybody else?

        The only explanation is that they have something up their sleeves. Maybe Facebook has told them that they would buy LL, but not with SL, which is too clumsy for them. Maybe LL answered that they have the experience to develop something much better. Maybe Facebook is willing to wait 18 months. If that’s the case, well, then I’m sure it will be a huge success :) Because no matter how ‘empty’ SL2 will be, it will have the Facebook brand behind it, and that is an almost certain guarantee of success — no matter what.

        But of course we have no way of knowing if this is the case. We can only see LL’s track record in supporting any product which is not SL. And we can see how other companies, with far better tech than SL, have fared.

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        1. Ciaran Laval

          Linden Lab are not saying that Second Life is going to be shut down, they are hoping to catch a lot more fish with their new world but the old world will still be going.

          This really isn’t an unusual situation, EverQuest is still going, despite the arrival of EverQuest II, and the new developments of Landmark and EverQuest Next.

          I can’t quite fathom why people think Linden Lab’s new world is a replacement for SL, it’s not, it’s a different product and many companies, including Apple, have different products, some of which compete with their own existing users.

          Linden Lab believe there’s a lot of untapped resources in the virtual world market and they are after those resources, time will tell if that’s true or not but they are looking to create something bigger and better than SL, they are not however looking at replacing SL at this stage.

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        2. Inara Pey Post author

          “But if they announce, ‘We’ll close down SL sooner or later’, I can’t possibly understand how you can think that SL will survive!”

          If LL announce that, then I’ll agree with you.

          Right now, they haven’t said anything of the sort. What they have said is that they are going to try to establish a new virtual world, one that they hope will have sufficiently compelling reasons and opportunities within it that it will make existing SL users want to jump over, and which will have the potential to reach a much broader audience and thus grow their user base. A virtual world which will run alongside SL and could well have appeal to audineces other than the SL user base.

          ETA 22:20 June 25th:

          From Ebbe Altberg in the SL forums:

          I pretty much only said these things:

          We are embarking on a huge project to build a better virtual world from the ground up.

          We are not going to constrain how good it can be by forcing some levels of backwards compatability (Sine then I’ve added some detail that identity and social connections and Lindens$ will come across and quite a bit of content as well, but with content we need more time to figure out exactly what will be backwards compatible, people will have plenty of time to see how this plays out and get a chance to try the new while still also hanging out in SL)

          We will continue to invest in SL and keep improving and have no plans for any shutdown.

          The rest is all speculation that has since then popped up.

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          1. Gwyneth Llewelyn

            It’s political speculation, Inara. It’s just like a politician promising there won’t be a tax raise before they get elected. Then they get elected, and see the real mess the finances are in, which the previous administration had kept closely away from the media. Now they have a huge hole in the budget and have to patch it. The solution? Raise taxes. Were the politicians lying? No. They truly and honestly believed that, based on the numbers they knew about, they would be able to govern without raising taxes.

            This is similar. I’m quite sure that Ebbe is being very honest and serious about his intentions to run SL along with SL2 for many many years (perhaps until he leaves LL). But then the numbers will force him to make hard, sad decisions. SL2 has to grow exponentially while SL declines to compensate for the loss of revenue. If that happens, Ebbe can keep his promises. But that’s just wishful thinking on a spreadsheet: we have no way to know if this will truly happen. When the numbers pop up on Ebbe’s spreadsheet by summer 2016 or so, he’ll have to make the tough decision: give up on SL2 and try to save a shrinking SL; give up on the expensive-to-run SL and place all bets on SL2; or shut down LL completely.

            The ‘best’ scenario — that SL2 can quickly grow exponentially to, say, 100,000 paying customers, in just a few months, and at such make LL survive long-term — is not necessarily the ‘most realistic’ one. After all, every single virtual world company attempting that since 2005, except perhaps for IMVU, have failed. Ebbe believes he can succeed when all others haven’t. So, what is his secret? :)

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    2. Ciaran Laval

      The gambling ban, the banking ban, the adult content move, the Open Space fiasco and yet Second Life is alive and well.

      There seems to be a major misunderstanding about what’s going on here, Second Life is not going away anytime soon.

      You point out the challenges that new virtual worlds face when you mention Cloud Party and Blue Mars. Linden Lab’s new virtual world will face those challenges, it will take time to gather traction, users and its own space.

      I really can’t understand why people are making the assumption that Second Life is about to leave the virtual world scene, it’s not, it’s a stubborn old beast in technology terms and will be around for quite a while yet.

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  21. Lizzi Faith

    I for one am really excited about this, as isn’t it what we’ve all been striving for…?
    It will presumably look better, with avatars all fitted mesh, and presumably those avatars will have a ridiculous amount of bones and attach points that SL could never cope with… all that is speculation though, as no-body knows what it will be like yet, we can only hope.
    Over my many years in SL I have bought inventory, enjoyed wearing it, or using it, and then something prettier or better has come along, and I’ve moved on…
    I’ll use clothing as a description, as for the majority of people that will be the bulk of their inventory….
    When I started we had single system layer clothes, flexi prim clothes/hair and invisprims…… they made way for physics, alpha layers, tattoo layers, high resolution mesh clothes/hair and the ability to wear multiple layers – even the system layer clothes became higher resolution….
    then came mesh body parts with their appliers to wear clothes, the rigged mesh was improved into the fitted mesh, and that transferred into full mesh avatars being available.
    At every stage, people who have have invested in these items, have had to leave something behind from the previous ‘generation’ (for want of a better word) of SL, and when you look back at it, the majority of the old stuff is not worth being a freebie these days…
    You have got to question how much can they squeeze out of an 11 year old engine, without fundamentally breaking it.
    When they release the SL V2.0, I will be straight there to try it out with open arms, and see how pretty and shiny it can be… that doesn’t mean I’ll be leaving SL straight away, but I think it’s going to be exciting enough to give it a chance….
    One thing I am hoping for though, and if nothing else can be migrated to this new world, I hope that they give us the chance to migrate our log-in names, as that for me is more sentimental than anything in my inventory..

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    1. Chalcedony Mao

      Regarding identity and the the log-in name, I hope that LindyLabs will devise a way for those of us saddled with the surname “Resident” to get a proper last name in the new world while maintaining the identity we’ve built up in SL. And no, display names don’t quite cut it.

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  22. stormmunforth

    I have many dance animations that I have spent a lot of US dollars on. And skins etc. If this is to makes us start over, then that’s it for me.

    LL wants to know what to do to increase the customer base? Well, what have they done to cultivate customer loyalty lately? If you want people to use your service, you might want to show them you want them here. I avoid talking to LL like the plague. Customer support is a group of folks finding a way to point the finger at you. They don’t want to be bothered with the unwashed masses.

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  23. Mercy Stark

    Question.. what about the breedables communities, the metered rp communities. People may not pay for premium memberships but they do pay for products and services which in turn buy/rent/lease sims. Like many I have a fair bit of money invested in my inventory and have halted in purchasing anything of value for the plain fact there is no guarantee it or my avi will be able to work in this new platform.
    It’s sounds like LL is counting on people giving in to their new idea. Conform or stfu and disapear, players are a dime a dozen. I would suggest gathering some of the biggest content creators in sl… lets say, I dunno, SLB11 birthday sim for a little happy gathering. I have no doubt content creators are asking these sort of questions too. I would love to be directed to a forum of what content creators are thinking about all of this.
    PS. Please bring back sl last names.

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    1. Gwyneth Llewelyn

      I’m sure content creators are excited. They love shiny new tech. They will very likely be able to quickly move to a far better platform with all their content. The beauty of mesh is that most work on it happens outside any platform — the creative aspect is platform-independent — they just need to give the final product a few tweaks to get it imported in any platform. So, sure, they will need to learn what tweaks to do for SL2, but 18 months is more than enough to learn all that. For content creators, a new market is going to be opened, which will allow them to be free from annoying constraints that forces them to difficult decisions regarding their content. SL2 might give them way better ways of showing off what they can do in terms of content.

      No, content creators is definitely not the problem. They will go where LL leads them. The only problem are consumers, stuck with empty inventories. Will they follow LL’s lead as eagerly?

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  24. Mercy Stark

    I have a few friends that can’t afford newer computers to handle that sort of graphics..they’re already having issues, guess their SOL.

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    1. Mona Eberhardt

      I’ll point you to what Inara said about things having a shelf life. The same goes with computers. Exactly the same. Second Life is an application that demands you to have some decent hardware to run it on. Please note I said “decent”. It doesn’t demand high-end hardware, although it certainly helps.

      Now, over time, hardware becomes obsolete. It no longer can cope with new shinies, because of its own limitations, because the vendor (here’s looking at you, AMD) doesn’t provide new, improved drivers (and LL is not to blame for this planned obsolescence). That said, I must add once again that most of what we experience as lag in SL is caused by factors that are well beyond LL’s control. For instance, extremely high bandwidth settings on behalf of the user, object LOD being set too high for the GPU’s capabilities, laggy, unoptimised content sold by content creators, etc. Jessica Lyon of the Firestorm team has been (rightly) very critical of content creators on this.

      Let’s get back to the subject of not being able to afford new hardware to run SL or. I must say I’ve been in a position (late 2007) where SL was beyond my laptop’s capabilities, and I couldn’t afford a more powerful one. Sadly, this is what we get for buying laptops rather than desktops: machines that basically can’t be upgraded.

      Unfortunately, we can’t expect LL to keep SL shackled to the demands of people whose hardware is now 10 years old (yes, I know such users). It would be unreasonable. It’d be better if you people went after content creators who build to their own high-end machines’ capabilities and don’t care about the lower-end machines owned by the majority of users.

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      1. Kira Manell

        Seems like many ppl are living a pipe-dream about SL2’s awesome graphics capabilities; whereas, in reality, we can’t even get LL to up the 512MB texture cache memory on its current SL.

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        1. Mona Eberhardt

          You’re confusing texture cache, which is a folder on your hard drive, with texture buffer, which is the amount of graphics card memory that the viewer is allowed to allocate to textures.

          LL is not keen on increasing the limit on GPU texture buffer, because far too many current users are using older graphics cards with only 512MB RAM, and many others use integrated graphics chipsets that share RAM with the rest of the system. Like it or not, not everyone has top-end GPUs with 3, 4, 6, 8 or 12 GB of dedicated RAM.

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          1. Inara Pey Post author

            There’s also the fact that increasing the available GPU memory reserved for textures may not actually make much in the way of observable difference, regardless of the amount of RAM on a GPU. It can. however impact performance elsewhere – lower FPS, possible camera stutter, and lead to other memory-related issues etc.

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            1. Mona Eberhardt

              Also, increasing the portion of GPU memory allocated to SL textures decreases the portion of GPU memory that can be used for other stuff. This can lead to a degradation of performance not only w.r.t. SL, but also w.r.t. the function of the entire system in general, potentially leading to whole system crashes, even after the user has closed the SL client. A largely ignored fact is that the GPU’s texture buffer is not emptied after one shuts down their SL or gaming session. This memory is freed only following a full system restart.

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              1. Kira Manell

                Untrue. Typycally, texture memory is cleared when the system receives a ‘low memory’ warning for it. Then your card starts a ‘garbage collection’ process to remove the stale data. This can be triggered manyally too, btw, by the programmer: usually some sort of system.gc() call.

                And if it weren’t so, you could *never* play a game like, say, Crysis 3, without your system immediately crashing upon playing it again.

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                1. Mona Eberhardt

                  In SL’s case, you’re just plain wrong. It’s been mentioned by TPV devs at Open Dev meetings that the texture buffer is not emptied when you close your SL client.

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                2. Kira Manell

                  “In SL’s case, you’re just plain wrong. It’s been mentioned by TPV devs at Open Dev meetings that the texture buffer is not emptied when you close your SL client.”

                  LOL. Not on close, silly, but on open. :) Like I said, if it weren’t so, you could maybe only start up your viewer 2 times in a row, before crashing horribly. That doesn’t happen, of course, and can easily be verified by yourself (and others). And by ‘on open’ I mean: when your viewer request X anounts of graphics memory, and that isn’t directly available (but might be after garbage collection).

                  ‘Garbage collection’ works similarly in LSL, btw: allocated memory is not removed, ever, until a new chunk of memory fails to allocate, after which a garbage collection event is triggered. A dev explained once that this is done, so as not to continually have thousands of concurrent scripts all run garbage collection all the time.

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          2. Kira Manell

            Yes, my bad for typing ‘texture cache’ when I meant ‘texture memory.’ At 4 AM, these things happen.

            “LL is not keen on increasing the limit on GPU texture buffer, because far too many current users are using older graphics cards with only 512MB RAM, and many others use integrated graphics chipsets that share RAM with the rest of the system. Like it or not, not everyone has top-end GPUs with 3, 4, 6, 8 or 12 GB of dedicated RAM.”

            Exactly! So, if by your own observation, ppl aren’t even ready yet for using more texture memory, then why the push for Matrix 2.0?! (Allegedly far more advanced).

            So, thanks for making my case so well! :)

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            1. Mona Eberhardt

              Could you please finally decide what your case is? Once you’re accusing LL of not increasing the size of the maximum texture buffer (which would, in some people’s minds, benefit those with high-end GPUs) and now you’re saying LL is excluding those who either can’t afford a proper machine or can’t be bothered to get one.

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              1. Kira Manell

                My case is, and always has been, entirely clear:

                If LL won’t even raise the texture memory limit, out of fear many people’s computers can’t handle such a minor upgrade, then all arguments PRO not increasing said limit work linea recta CONTRA a new SL with even far heftier graphics demands.

                Ironically, it’s really LL that needs to make up their minds.

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                1. Mona Eberhardt

                  Actually, it’s you and your ilk that should make your minds. You can’t want new shinies and demand that it runs smoothly and looks great on ten-year-old machines with 1GB of RAM and integrated graphics chipsets.

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                2. Kira Manell

                  “Actually, it’s you and your ilk that should make your minds. You can’t want new shinies and demand that it runs smoothly and looks great on ten-year-old machines with 1GB of RAM and integrated graphics chipsets.”

                  Me and my ilk?! LOL. Seriously, though, try and read for comprehension a bit. Nowhere have I said I want things to run smooth or look great on ten-year-old machines with 1GB of RAM and integrated graphics chipsets. That’s all in your own mind.

                  Besides, if you had read my post even half, you’d have known I’m not pro SL 2.0, period. My only point is, and always has been, that it’s kinda silly of LL to be blustering about a new SL with allegedly superior graphics, when they won’t even up something as minor as the texture memory limit for the current incarnation of SL, because they’re afraid ppl can’t run it.

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                3. Inara Pey Post author

                  “My only point is, and always has been, that it’s kinda silly of LL to be blustering about a new SL with allegedly superior graphics, when they won’t even up something as minor as the texture memory limit for the current incarnation of SL, because they’re afraid ppl can’t run it.”

                  Again, that’s not the case. As I mentioned earlier, the reason the texture memory isn’t increased is because by and large, it doesn’t make any real difference. It can, however impact performance elsewhere – lower FPS, possible camera stutter, and lead to other memory-related issues etc.

                  That’s not me saying this, it’s TPV devs.

                  I also remember reading – and I cannot now for the life of me remember when or where I did – that setting a higher memory limit for textures caused issues with some OpenGL drivers (and may have been the reason why the limit was enforced in the first place). I’ve also no idea as to whether this issue has since been fixed, although I vaguely remember it coming up a couple of years or so ago.

                  But either way, the texture memory limit isn’t necessarily indicative of anything the Lab is able or not to do vis graphics. What it does indicate is that the current code has its own limitations due to the complexity of the rendering pipe. And that is likely something which can be reworked and improved within the framework of a new platform.

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  25. Kira Manell

    Rather shocked here. I have spent thousands of dollars on SL; but, more importantly, thousands of hours creating my many homes. And by ‘creating’ I mean making them my own, thru extensive modding and decorating. They are to me little pieces of art, as it were, that I cherish and hold dear, as I tried to do something special with each of them, interior-design wise. Some of them I’ve been tweaking for years.

    Also, no backwards compatibility is a shocker to me. And even if they add some sort of backwards compatibility (which they say chances are pretty slim for), then pretty much *all* homes and furniture I bought are non-transfer to begin with (with most of them, I was lucky to get them mod/copy). So, yeah, good luck getting that all ported.

    Word is, we can certainly forget about LSL Script compatibility. So, exit all my rezzers with all my homes in it. Sigh.

    For me this just spells the demise of everything I built up. Basically they’re saying, ‘Look, kiddo, enjoy what you have another 2-3 years, but then we close up shop on the old SL.’ Yes, I know the lady said “We’re not giving up on Second Life.” But she also said SL as we know it only has a couple of years to live. Kind of a mixed bag, really.

    A rather sad Kira.

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  26. zzpearlbottom

    Hupps i see i must refrain to post, sorry for mentioning open sim as a true, real, option for those who are not willing to wait for mid terms and words from the lab.

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      I think you’re reading a tad too much into Mr. Dredge’s speculative thinking :).

      The Lab is already working on Oculus Rift integration for Second Life. The project viewer is already available for those who have an Oculus SDK1 or SDK2.

      Obviously, any new platform the Lab develops is similarly going to attempt to leverage immersive VR for those who want to use it. But neither this nor the current Rift integration means that there is direct Facebook involvement or any kind of Facebook connection per se.

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  27. RobWriter Starship

    The best innovators who last, risk cannibalizing their own (past) creations. Because if they don’t, the competitive market will, But great execution is a requirement to bridge the risks. The game Xbox (for ex. quality is far superior. Higher performance (less lag) with very detailed liquid mesh is just the table stakes to the game of the future. The newer avis now coming out of The Mesh Project is an example of superior quality coming. If you don;t like change, then why even be in the digital computerized world? Kinda ironic and idiotic to expect it to stay stable and fixed in the past.

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  28. Ahawi

    It will be bittersweet for me, Second Life is already the best 3d world out there but it is because of the creativity of the users. While I would be excited to have a new platform that would be compatible with current technology, it would mean losing a lot of inventory and also my homestead which is residential so would mean losing my renters as well. But a new platform may make Second Life better. When they do this I would hope they will give US something in return, like allowing you to have ONE inventory for all the avatars that you own, and assigning an account number that nobody can see so that you can assign your avatar any name that you want. This would be the opportunity to change some very sticky issues. But I do think we, the dedicated users, should get something out of this. Shared inventory for your avatars would be something everyone would get on board with. I think new technology could make the world even better. There are so many nice thing that could be created with the right platform. But I think, for second life to keep up with technology they will have to change, just like anything else. Bottom line is, if there is a new world I will change just like I do with all of my computer software. I buy a new cell phone every year when technology comes out. This costs me a few hundred dollars so it is a pain but I like new technology so I pay for it. My concern is for the people who are disabled (which are a lot in SL) who do not have the money. They will be the ones who suffer the most. Regardless, we shall see what happens.

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  29. Pingback: Linden Lab - A New Virtual World PlatformVirtual London News | Reports on the Virtual Community of London

  30. Pingback: Linden Lab’s Welcome Return To The Field Of Communication » Ciaran Laval

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